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6 myths you should know about eLearning

before you start bringing it into your company


There are still numerous myths out there surrounding eLearning—often unfortunately believed by people in exactly the wrong places. Both C-level management and HR frequently have misconceptions about internal, digital training, which not only quickly leads to projects failing to meet expectations, but also to a lot of pointlessly invested resources—something that companies today generally neither want nor can afford. To prevent this from happening, we have put together a realistic assessment of the 6 biggest myths about eLearning and provided suitable solutions to help you ensure your eLearning project is set up for success right from the start!


Myth 1: eLearning only has a limited impact and cannot replace analog training

For a long time, it was believed that digital training could not replace face-to-face. But just think back to the last classroom-based session you attended: How can a single person succeed in organizing a training course in such a way that it takes account of everyone’s individual levels of knowledge? And how can analog training respond to individual learning speeds and preferences? In short: It can’t. The list of arguments as to why eLearning has long been superior to analog training is long. While the often loud criticism of the lack of personal support usually still persists, even here comment functions, social learning, coaching and the like provide a powerful response.

Think about your own experiences; how often you have sat in lectures tired and bored? How much more motivated would you have been if you had been able to learn at a time and place that suited you, if the content had really been relevant to the problems you wanted to solve, and if you hadn’t had to repeat knowledge you could already recite in your sleep?


Solution for individual learning success

Digitalized training offers a whole new level of individuality that the analog world could only dream of. The magic word: adaptive learning. This refers to the acquisition of knowledge a specific individual requires at the right time and at the right pace. Where information about learners, their learning environments, learning speeds, and learning times was previously unavailable and thus not taken into account, an adaptive approach allows eLearning to continuously adapt to the current learning situation. based on user data and behavior. For example, pre-tests can be used to determine learners’ prior level of knowledge and adapt the subsequent learning content accordingly. On the one hand, this ensures that no one feels overwhelmed, while on the other, those who already have prior knowledge can skip that particular part of the content. This not only saves them time, but also keeps them motivated instead of sitting bored in front of the screen.


Myth 2: eLearning means quick gains

With professional software and support, eLearning content can be created quickly and easily. However, the process from the initial implementation through to visible results is a long-term one: Once everyone involved is convinced, the next step is to create resources, set up an eLearning team, and develop new workflows. At the same time, employees must be given the space and time to get to grips with this new way of learning and integrate it into their everyday working lives. The famous “learning to learn” adage also applies in adulthood and, depending on the strategy, you can expect it to take several months for employees to start to learn in a self-directed and needs-oriented way. Meanwhile, the eLearning team will also be gaining experience in how to design content, how learning processes can be optimized, and what tools they can use to motivate learners.


Solution for long-term success with eLearning

It is therefore important to establish realistic expectations and not hope to see significant (learning) successes within the first six months. However, eLearning experts such as chemmedia AG are happy to support you in developing a long-term strategy and guide you through the process step-by-step with specialist knowledge, personal advice, and professional software solutions. As with every new challenge: Even the longest journey starts with a single step. Once eLearning and a digital learning culture have been implemented, your company will benefit from the successes for generations to come and save a lot of resources in many different areas.


Myth 3: eLearning is a closed project and a one-off budget item

eLearning is more than just a single course or a series of courses! Rather, the term eLearning is synonymous with the development of a digital learning culture and the long-term shift from analog training into the digital realm. Ideally, the advantages of digitalized training will even lead to learning becoming seen as much more important, and being integrated into everyday working life as a matter of course. Accordingly, eLearning should not be seen as a completed project and a one-off budget item, but more a permanent element of the corporate culture.

If eLearning is viewed as a stand-alone project, this usually means that too few financial and human resources will be allocated to it, which in turn means that the company cannot even begin to fully exploit the potential of eLearning. In this case, they will often go on to conclude that eLearning has been tried but failed, leading to an accumulation of resources that have been invested in vain.


Solution for cross-departmental involvement

Get management, the works council, HR, IT, and team leaders on board from the outset and discuss together whether the company is ready to establish a digital learning culture across all departments. Make sure that everyone’s ideas and expectations align, and that sufficient resources are available or can be created. Our white paper provides arguments for all interest groups within the company and will help you to competently counter any doubts and counterarguments.

Nadine Pedro
[Translate to English:] Nadine Pedro, chemmedia AG

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Myth 4: eLearning can be implemented “on the side”

As you can see from the points above, eLearning requires resources—both in terms of creation and when learners come to use the solution. These resources must be consciously created and cannot be “crammed” into an already busy working day. This would not only significantly reduce success, but also hinder the development of a positive learning culture before it takes root. Both those responsible for eLearning and the learners themselves need to feel that training is no less valuable and appreciated than other work.


Solution for a professional workflow

Assess your colleagues’ existing resources and skills: Are there people who already have special skills that could help you create eLearning content? Perhaps someone is already passionate about digital training and would like to get involved? In addition, talk to the people in decision-making positions at an early stage about the fact that it may be necessary to hire additional staff or commission external service providers. The same applies to employees: If employees have taken part in little training to date and their workloads are high, you may need additional staff to relieve them so that everyone has enough time to take advantage of the learning opportunities.


Myth 5: eLearning content only needs to be created once and can then be reused forever

It is all too often advertised that eLearning content only needs to be created once—and in theory, this statement is true. Once eLearning content has been created, it can be tailored to any number of learning groups without having to be recreated from scratch, and can be distributed to any number of people wherever and whenever needed.

Nevertheless, content has to change sooner or later and technology also continues to develop at a pace. If eLearning is wrongly seen as a finished project, it will not be long before content becomes outdated and/or learning methods and formats no longer meet standards, which in turn nullifies any sustainability arguments for eLearning.


Solution for sustainable eLearning

Plan regular updates from the outset. The intervals are of course dependent on the dynamic nature of the content. Data protection training that is only carried out once a year will only need to be adapted annually. Software training, on the other hand, may require several updates. Depending on the requirements, one update per year should be sufficient for technological adjustments.


Myth 6: eLearning only affects the learners and the people who create the eLearning content

You might think that eLearning only affects the people who create the content and those who ultimately learn from it. This may be true in the case of one-off digital data protection training, but when it comes to establishing digital training permanently at your company, you will quickly come up against a lack of motivation and participation.

What eLearning needs in order to for you to harness its full potential and motivate employees to engage in self-directed learning in the long term is a strong, digital learning culture. And like any kind of culture, it cannot simply be decided. It has to grow like a tree, with its branches gradually penetrating all areas of the company. Real change therefore usually begins with role models. It can only succeed if managers visibly exemplify the new culture. Especially at the beginning, executives may want to incentivize a willingness to learn with positive extrinsic motivation—whether with bonuses, vouchers or public recognition.


Solution for long-lasting motivation

Get management on board right from the start! As a first step, line managers can contact employees by email or in meetings and encourage them to take part in eLearning, introduce eLearning content through short video messages explaining the benefits of the courses, and even use the learning opportunities themselves and share their experiences. Especially at the beginning, executives may therefore want to incentivize a willingness to learn with positive extrinsic motivation—whether with bonuses, vouchers or public recognition.

What is important in all of this, however, is that employees really do get the time they need to learn and that their workload is reduced to an appropriate extent—after all, training is not a leisure activity. If this is not the case, you are more likely to encounter resistance than enthusiasm!


The bottom line.

Kennedy once said: “There is only one thing in the long run more expensive than education: no education.” As much as one would like to believe it, eLearning and the development of a digital learning culture is not an investment in the present, but always in the future of the company. It takes courage to set aside the necessary resources and to trust that success will not only be achieved in the long term, but will actually start to increase exponentially. This makes it all the more important to have realistic expectations and to invest effort in ’selling’ eLearning to your teams. In this way, you not only prevent disappointment, but also ensure that your eLearning project can really be a long-term success!

Magda Lehnert | Blogger
Magda Lehnert

Image source: Jack Frog /shutterstock.com